What are the video games that every parent should know about? Gianni Zamo of the Games Rating authority (GRA), an arm of the Video Standards Council, gives you a brief overview of five of the most popular and explains how the GRA works.
The GRA exists to provide ratings and ratings information for video game purchasers in the UK using the PEGI rating system. Ratings are based on what the game contains and not, as is sometimes believed, on how hard or easy it is to play.
For those with younger children, we think the ratings are especially useful for helping consumers to make informed buying choices. Furthermore, our additional consumer information (ACI), accessible through the GRA website, provides a text-based description of what the game contains and what other features are worth noting – in-game purchases, online interaction with others.
Free-to-play game apps are covered by the International App Rating Coalition (IARC), which applies separate ratings to such games. These are internationally agreed ratings strictly aimed at the plethora of apps. Apple also operates an app rating system, but they tend to be biased towards US buyers and we don’t find them of particular value for UK consumers.
Five Night’s at Freddy’s 4 (PEGI 12)
This is a hugely popular game at present and is readily available to download both on Android and iOS devices. If you don’t know the series then be warned that it’s a horror-survival game in which a young boy, alone in his bedroom, has to survive five terrifying nights of being threatened by animatronic animals that are scary to look at and potentially very frightening as they attempt to ‘get’ the player.
Pokémon Go (PEGI 3)
Though suitable for all ages, this free-to-play, augmented reality game has caused a stir for all sorts of reasons. Using the device’s in-built GPS, the player is encouraged to go out into the real world, track down and capture assorted Pokémon. So far, so straightforward. However, the game has been criticised because some of the real world locations where the Pokémon are located were deemed inappropriate or unsuitable.
In addition, players may make in-app purchases to improve their chances of capturing the Pokémon.
On the plus side, it is a game that ensures children get active and move around in the real world though younger children should be supervised.
For more information read Parent Info’s Pokémon Go - a parent's guide.
Minecraft (PEGI 7)
This is a game that continues to capture the imaginations of its players. It may appear to be little more than a digital Lego set, but there are so many aspects of this game that keep people playing it over and over again.
It lacks any notable ‘violence’ and the ability to interact online with others creates positive communities of players who help each other to build all manner of things. Having said that, of course, children who engage with others online should be supervised given the risks of trolling or cyberbullying.
Angry Birds 2 (PEGI 3)
Yet another ‘freemium’ game that can be downloaded on Android and iOS devices, this very popular platform offers endless fun and violence-free entertainment, but be warned that you will have to pay to obtain ‘gems’ and ‘spells’ to enable you to conquer the more challenging levels. These items can be replenished for free in limited amounts, but there’s certainly pressure in the game to buy items.
World of Warcraft (PEGI 12)
One of the largest subscribed to online games, World of Warcraft offers players lots of thrills, but often at a price. A monthly subscription fee is required in order to access the higher levels while concerns have been raised about the sale of items in the game.
For further information on the PEGI ratings system check out Parent Info’s guide.
The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Info or CEOP.